PORT RICHEY — Bells are an everyday sound during the holiday season. Salvation Army uses bells to get people in the giving spirit by donating money to help the less fortunate.
Salvation Army held its 2013 red kettle kick-off at Gulf View Square mall.
Capt. Jay Deaton, the Pasco County Corps commander, spoke about programs supported by the funds when people plunk their coins into the red kettles.
Port Richey Police Chief Dave Brown, Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano, and Eugene Williams, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County, spoke about crucial Salvation Army programs.
“Salvation Army is Christianity with its sleeves rolled up,” Williams said.
“It’s for a good cause,” kettle volunteer Ray McIntosh said.
Money donated throughout the holiday season helps keep vital programs running all year long, supporters explained.
The Salvation Center of Hope served 25,890 meals during the past year at its kitchen on Washington Street. About 1,400 youths became involved with the Salvation Army Community Center on Ridge Road, where they can play in the gym or volunteer in programs.
A West Pasco domestic violence shelter has assisted many women over the years.
There are 43 kettles in Pasco, with 33 kettles in West Pasco and 10 in East Pasco.
Another Salvation Army project that takes place during the holidays is its Angel Tree. Participants can provide gifts for underprivileged children.
Even though the kettles are only around during the holiday season, Maria Matheus, the Pasco County Corps liaison, believes that people should help the less fortunate all year around.
“Need knows no season,” Matheussaid.